Upgrading 1977 K5 Wiper System

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Zekeoverby, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. Zekeoverby

    Zekeoverby Newbie Premium Member

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    I just bought a 77 k5. It has a one speed wiper switch on the dash with no washer. It has a floppy blinker lever that doesn't engage turn signals. I want to upgrade all this. I'm wondering if there's a way, while retaining the stock steering column, that I could move the wiper controls to the blinker lever and add a modern amount of wiper speeds. Basically swap in a modern blinker lever. Would it possible to add a washer too? What would that entail? Could I swap in a turn signal switch from a newer k5? Would I need a wiper and washer switch too? How does that work on the newer k5s, are they all in the column? will I need to do anything to the motor? Could it use an upgrade anyways? Lots of questions. If anyone has any answers they'd be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. 6872xtc

    6872xtc make mine modified Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    It sounds like you would have an upgrade just by making things work as original. Your '77 has 2 speed wipers, there is a problem with yours. It could be a poor ground on the wiper motor, which can be the small strap that goes to one of mounting bolts, or possibly a switch problem. It will take some diagnoses to determine the problem, or if it is internal in the motor. The washer pump can be converted to an electric one, just get a universal one and hook it up to the wires going to the original pump on the wiper motor.

    The turn signal switch lever is a common problem. The screw sets loose and can break the plastic part of the switch. It's possible to replace the broken part, at least the part used to be available, or you can replace the whole switch. It requires some time, tools and research to take the column apart. It is possible for the DIY guy though.

    You should be able to swap the whole column for one out of a late eighties K5, but the turn signal switch is the same part, which means that it's possible to have the same problem show up later.
     
  3. Zekeoverby

    Zekeoverby Newbie Premium Member

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    Okay thank you for the info. I'll search around to see if it's the ground or switch or what. I do really want the wiper controls on the blinker lever though. Do you know, if I were to swap the column all together, is the wiper/washer switch in the column. And if so, would it be possible or easier to just change turn signal switch and add wiper switch into my current column?
     
  4. Bent77

    Bent77 lil meanie Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    If you haven’t delved into the fun that is a steering column, you may wanna research that also before you dive in
     
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  5. 6872xtc

    6872xtc make mine modified Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    I understand your feelings about wanting the control on the turn signal lever.
    You would need to get a complete column from an '84 to '91 k5 or suburban. (Trucks to '87).
    Then you will want to go into it and make sure that it is good to go. If it is a tilt column, you need to loctite the bolts that hold the tilt section, and all of them need maintenance in other areas.
     
  6. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 #crawlabago Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    The other item overlooked is the wiring harness is completely different.

    The column is going to physically bolt in without any issue. But getting the wiring to line up for the wiper and dimmer is going to be a challenge. That will not be plug and play.

    I'd fall back to what has already been said, fixing what you got is going to be much simpler than going after the newer column. It's not what you want to hear but you need to know it's not as simple as bolting the column in.
     
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  7. 6872xtc

    6872xtc make mine modified Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Good point. I am fairly certain that the dimmer will plug in, but the wiring is too short by just a few inches. I hadn't remembered about the wiper plug being different, whoops.
     
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  8. Capt Ron

    Capt Ron Minus .7 liters Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    If intermittent wipers is your primary goal starting in late 79?? it was available for the dash mounted switch. I have a few of the modules at home. Still not quite plug and play but I did convert one years ago.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021 at 9:30 PM
  9. USSkoval

    USSkoval Dunno? Premium Member

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    Delay wipers were optional starting in '77 but the module was extremely failure prone. Much more so than the later modules. Starting in '78, the whole wiper system was revamped and the wiring is different than the earlier models.

    The '78-'83 delay wiper stuff can be swapped in, but the switch and motor pigtails need changed, a wire needs to be added for the park switch and of course the later switch, module and wiper motor are needed. And the dash needs slightly modified to fit the switch.

    One very nice feature of the delay wiper switch is it has a "mist" position, unlike the standard 2 speed switch.
     
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  10. Capt Ron

    Capt Ron Minus .7 liters Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Thanks for the clarification, I remembered it wasn't plug and play but after 30 some years forgot the details. I have been collecting the switch/modules for a few years, I will post up some pics to check out any differences.
     

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